Priority Themes

Below are some of the priority themes animating research and teaching at SA+P, as represented in selected recent coverage by MIT News and other media.

Climate action

Equitable Resilience brings to the forefront questions of equity when designing for urban resilience: How can cities prepare now for a more equitable form of future resilience? The [LCAU] Equitable Resilience Portal aims to use the momentum around global resilience thinking to address social inequities as a result of climate change preparations and impacts.

Preparing to be prepared: Miho Mazereeuw, an architect of built and natural environments, looks for new ways to get people ready for natural disasters.

Greening roofs to boost climate resilience: Roofscapes, a startup founded by three MIT students, is planning to build green spaces on pitched roofs in Paris, to decrease temperatures while improving quality of life.

Janelle Knox-Hayes on producing renewable energy that communities want: New position paper calls for getting stakeholders involved in wind power projects from the start.

Low-cost device can measure air pollution anywhere: Open-source tool from MIT’s Senseable City Lab lets people check air quality, cheaply.

MIT Center for Real Estate advances climate and sustainable real estate research agenda: Projects, publications, and academia-industry networks produce pathways for the real estate industry to address the climate crisis.


MIT Morningside Academy for Design created as a new hub for cross-disciplinary education, research, and innovation: Supported by a $100 million founding gift, the academy will deepen the integration of design across the Institute and beyond.

Developing community around design: MIT Morningside Academy for Design’s inaugural fellows chart a new course.

New research collaboration aims to tackle global societal challenges through design: Hasso Plattner Institute-MIT Research Program on Designing for Sustainability will focus on sustainable design, innovation, and digital technologies.

Urban futures

Drawing Together” is awarded Norman B. Leventhal City Prize: Winning project supports collaboration between public housing residents in New York City and a local nonprofit offering training for work in the digital economy.

3 Questions: An experiment illuminates the value of public transportation: Urban studies research from MIT sheds light on the ways low-income riders use mass transit.

Where the sidewalk ends: Most cities don’t map their own pedestrian networks. Now, researchers have built the first open-source tool to let planners do just that.

Health, wealth, and cities: MIT associate professor of urban studies Mariana Arcaya examines health disparities within metro areas.

Social justice and community engagement

Visualizing migration stories: “Distance Unknown,” an exhibition by MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab, documents the often challenging journeys migrants undertake to gain economic opportunity and food security.

Power, laws, and planning: MIT urbanist Justin Steil studies how law and policy are used to replicate social divisions in the use of land.

Designing for better lives: Flavio Emilio Vila Skrzypek, a graduate student in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, wants to design cities without inequities.

Your friendly neighborhood architect: Graduate student Justin Brazier lends his design skills to community projects in the Greater Boston neighborhoods where he grew up.”

Putting $100 Billion in Real Estate Tax Breaks to Better Use”

Ekene Ijeoma joins MIT Media Lab: The new media arts and sciences faculty member merges social justice with design, architecture, music, performance, and technology.”

Community Innovators Lab (Co-Lab) is an MIT-based hub for collaborative action and innovation. Its Mel King Community Fellowship Program upholds the late civil rights activist’s legacy.

The MIT Center for Constructive Communication brings together researchers in AI, computational social science, digital interactive design, and learning technologies with software engineers, journalists, political scientists, designers, and community organizers to explore and address the effects of deepening social fragmentation in the United States.